Sunday evening saw those at the helm of the Garden State’s underground Punk scene, Titus Andronicus and Screaming Females, bombard the Boardwalk’s most hallowed house of music, The Stone Pony, with a barrage of tunes, once honed to charismatic perfection in basements below the Hub City, that absorbed the motley assemblage of enthusiasts in a tornadic state of blissful barbarism, swirling about an impromptu rumble pit with little regard for the pair of pre-teen mop tops at the foot of the stage who, let alone each other.
“It’s good to see you guys,” said Titus Andronicus mastermind Patrick Stickles prior to opening the outfit’s 90-minute set. “This is our first time playing The Stone Pony, and It’s an honor to be playing at a venue with such a rich Rock N’ Roll history attached to it. It’s just nice to be back in Jersey and in Asbury Park.”
And with that the Indie-Punk collective kicked off its Screaming On Planet Titus Tour with a more than appropriate rendition of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town,” a more refined and riotous cover than those offered up by the band earlier in 2011, such as The Killers “All These Things That I’ve Done” and Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games.”
After losing Amy Klein to her Hilly Eye project in October, and one of its founding members, bassist Ian Graetzer, in January, one would expect this outfit, in its live performance debut, to suffer through a form of growing pains, yet surprisingly, save for a 12-minute guitar restringing process by Stickles, the set went smoothly, “climaxing,” according to the vocalist, six songs in with the group’s title-tune, “Titus Andronicus,” from its 2008 debut full-length The Airing Of Grievances.
“This is real life,” explained Stickles to the antsy assemblage. “You may go to a show and see some big rock star snap a string, and one of his slaves rushes out of the shadows to fix it. That’s not real. This is real. You’re looking at a very poor man that can’t afford guitar string replacement minions…Does anybody have any questions?”
That they did, and in case you’re wondering, Stickles favorite album of 2011 was Fucked Up’s David Comes To Life.
“Tony, it’s your 19th birthday and you have you’re whole life ahead of you, but that’s the last time I’ll reference it tonight and here’s why. I saw The Flaming Lips recently and Wayne Coyne did the whole birthday thing. As it turns out there it was about 12 people’s birthdays and he had to go through the entire schtick 12 times. I won’t do that.”
“Anyway,” continued Stickles, “It’s time for some new songs because they’ll have a birthday too someday, and we need to practice them…this edition of Titus Andronicus is about six days old. We need all the practice we can get. We have a repertoire of about 13 songs, and you’re gonna hear everyone of them.”
With a simple “Let’s go,” Stickles struck up the band and slashed through the rally cry riff of “Ecce Homo,” (the name according to drummer Eric Harm and guitarist Liam Betson) an anthemic number slated for a forthcoming split release (due out in about four weeks according to Stickles) with the evening’s opener Diarrhea Planet. A scream-along tune of the boot stomping-kind titled “In The Big City” followed suit, backed by a multi-part, 10-minute epic dubbed “Still Life With Hot Deuce On Silver Platter.” Check out exclusive video below
The Glen Rock, NJ natives also ripped through several cuts from its 2010 breakthrough release, The Monitor, including “A More Perfect Union,” “No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future,” “The Battle Of Hampton Roads,” a “Richard II” medley that included CCR’s “Travelin’ Band” and Little Richard’s “Good Golly Mrs. Molly,” while closing out the night with the harmonica infused “Four Score And Seven.”
The Marissa Paternoster-led Screaming Females stormed through a tightly sewn 10-song set of electric six-string-led salvos, the songstress’ rolling vocals cascading over the audience, staggering the assemblage, as an initial shockwave to the eventual axe wielding inferno spit forth through her stack, rekindling the blaze in every patron’s soul that drew them to Grungy Punk-Rock in the first place.
The three-piece musical mortar shell scorched the cement dance floor with selections from its lauded 2010 release, Castle Talk, such as “Sheep,” “A New Kid,” and “I Don’t Mind It,” while introducing yet to be released mosh pit manipulators like “Red Hand” and “Slow Birth,” which are due out April 3rd as part of Screaming Females fifth full-length release Ugly…stay tuned for a review.
Check out photos and videos below and be sure to see Titus Anronicus again at the Metallica-curated Orion Festival set to hit Atlantic City on June 23-24.